TAMPA, Fla. - A professional chef has no problem cooking for a crowd and some new appliances are offering features to make that easier to do.
"Now is a good time to buy. Sales are slumping, so a lot of appliance companies are rolling out lots of bargains," says Consumer Reports' Sue Perry.
Consumer Reports' tests of ranges show many once-pricey features are more common- like dual ovens, induction cook-tops, and high-power burners.
"All come in handy when you're cooking for a lot of people and preparing a lot of dishes," says Perry.
Professionals have always known the benefits of bigger ranges. In Consumer Reports' lab, this 36 inch GE Monogram has a built-in griddle and four high-power, natural gas burners that simmer superbly. It also has convection heating that can shave cooking time- all packaged with pro-style design. But this range is a real wallet buster at $7,500.
Instead, consider an oven that does double duty.
"Dual ovens are a great option. They let you cook your main entrée and bake a pie at the same time, at different temperatures," Perry reveals.
Consumer Reports recommends this GE electric, 30 inch double oven, for $1,000. It has excellent oven capacity and rated very good in baking tests.
Want to spend even less? Consider a high-tech hot plate, which can serve as both an extra burner for cooking and a food warmer at your buffet table. This Waring Pro Induction Hot Plate is a consumer reports best buy at $140.
So cooking like a pro doesn't have to set you back a lot of money.
One thing that's interesting about induction cooking - it uses electromagnetic coils that heat more quickly and efficiently than conventional electric elements. But that means you need to use cookware that has a magnetic base, such as cast iron pans.
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